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The Wall of Game of Thrones, can science survive?

The Seven kingdoms They are protected from the danger of the frozen north by a huge wall of ice.

It is one of the most characteristic places in Poniente, world Song about ice and fire, the story that contains the books by George RR Martin on which the HBO series is based Crown games.

But in the real world, a massive iceberg, 500 kilometers long and 200 meters high, would have more serious problems dealing with physics, rather than the savages and White walkers beyond the wall.

The Wall, Game of Thrones

In the fantasy world of the Middle Ages Crown games í Wall there is little to fear, it was built by Brandon the builder eight thousand years ago, with ice blocks, stone and magic tricks and possibly with the help of giants. He did this to protect the kingdoms from the men they call the White Walkers.

The Wall, Game of ThronesThe foundation of the wall was laid on the steepest peaks of the hills, from Frozen Fangs mountain range to Selaflói, which spanned 483 kilometers.

In the early days it was not so high, but in the current Game of Thrones it reaches an average of 700 feet in height, about 213 meters. Made with ice blocks that give it a bluish-white hue when the sun is shining and gray when the clouds cover the sky.

The very cold temperature of the area keeps the blocks together, but in summer the heat can melt the surface layer and create so-called wall weeping. But magic helps him there, and in real life he also needs magic to stay upright, otherwise gravity would use his irresistible force and end up beating him down.

According to engineer Mary Albert from the ice drilling program, large masses of ice form a deformation under their own weight, even at very low temperatures. And over time, the ice ends up slipping so that it would not retain its original shape for millennia.

The author of the book, George RR Martin, confessed that his inspiration for the wall was the infamous Hadrian wall, built in Roman times on the island of Great Britain in the province of Scotland, to prevent invasions from the north.

But this historic wall was barely four meters high and the infamous wall of history, the Great Wall of China, is also barely 9 meters high, which against the 200 Western Wall looks like dwarfs.

In our world without magic, only nature has built ice structures of enormous mass similar to the walls, which are huge glaciers in Greenland or Antarctica. But the ice thousands thousands of meters thick are only maintained for thousands of years in areas where melting does not occur, and they are very wide extensions, not as narrow as a wall, no matter how wide it is. To let 12 riders pass. side by side.

The Wall, Game of ThronesIn the famous igloos of the Eskimos, the ice blocks are left, if the temperature is low, but as soon as they melt a little, as happens in the Wall with the summer lament, they no longer hold. Not to mention that a smaller scale is what makes it possible not to face the challenge of fighting gravity.

If we wanted to build an ice wall like in Game of Thrones, in our world of magic, we would run in a race against time. Even at freezing temperatures, the ice in the blocks would eventually slide and deform like liquid under the pressure of its own weight, according to glaciologist Bob Hawley of Dartmouth College. Similar to how a glacier flows, which is widened in the lower part, with the pressure of the ice being higher.

It could only be built if it were a kind of sloping ridge, rather than a vertical rampart, according to physicist Martin Truffer at the University of Alaska. But of course, to reach a height of 200 meters, the necessary slope, so that it does not deform, would need a base 40 times higher, that is 8 kilometers.

The problem is that the necessary incline would eventually destroy its main function: to leave the White Walkers on the other side, where it would be possible to climb without much difficulty. The west wall is very wide at the bottom, so much so that its doors are actually very long tunnels, but it does not even come close to 8 kilometers. So science reaches down the wall, where gravity will always work.

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